How reading has changed my life

January 9, 2011


About a year and a half ago, I canceled my cable subscription and gave my TV away.  I had decided that nothing that I was watching had really provided me with anything of substantial value in my life.  In fact, all those hours I had spent in front of it had only taken away time from activities I could have spent learning something or improving myself.

Watching television is kind of like eating potato chips.  You tell yourself that you are only going to watch for one hour or eat “a few” chips.  Before you know it, you’ve spent 3 hours watching TV and have killed about half the bag of chips.  With television gone, I found I had much more time to myself after work instead of feeling like there weren’t enough hours in the day.

I am now quite a voracious reader of books, both self-improvement and non-fiction.  Every book I read opens my mind to ideas I had never considered or educates me on periods of history I had little knowledge about.  For example, I am currently deployed to Afghanistan, but knew embarrassingly little about the country.  After reading Ghost Wars, the voluminous, Pulitzer Prize winning book about the CIA and our history in Afghanistan, I developed a much clearer understanding of all the events leading up to our current occupation here.  Like an addiction, each book leads me to explore other titles, which I make a note in my head to read in the future.  Although I could do better at applying more of the techniques I learn about, even if they are not implemented, they are now additional tools that can be recalled and applied to my life as necessary.  Any topic that you can imagine has been addressed by many people in great detail and opening a book is like taking someone’s life work and gaining all that knowledge in the span of a few days.  To me, this is invaluable and will continue to shape my view of health, fitness, finance, personal relationships, and life for years to come.

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